Help me UNRelease the Kracken

It is a Monster I created :unamused:

My 3 - Horse, Pony & Mini - have free access to stalls 24/7.
Horse is Herd Boss, Pony is his minion, Mini is a free agent.
They routinely go into their own stalls for grain, morning & evening.

Mini is the Monster.
Until a couple days ago he would eat his grain, in his stall, then meander over into the horse’s stall to share hay & check feedpan - sometimes with horse’s nose still in it. Horse tolerates the little guy & was generally 99% done eating his grain when this happened.
Pony would never dream of entering horse’s stall to share, nor would he tolerate mini going in his.

While they eat, I tidy up, get ready to sit on my bench outside the barn to dispense morning treats. They know the routine & will either come out or wait for me politely.

The other morning I noticed mini was in horse’s stall quicker than usual - checked his feeder & about 1/4 of his ration was still in there.
I shooed him off horse’s pan - he had maybe 50% of his grain left - and stayed in the stall until horse finished. Mini made attempts to get past me…as if I couldn’t tell what he planned :roll_eyes:

Mini is on TC Sr (w/Thyro-L), horse gets oats & rice bran, neither of which mini needs to eat.
Horse is a benevolent despot & does not push mini out of his pan.
So I went into the stall to run interference & let horse finish his meal in peace.
Adding ~10min to my routine. Had to repeat at PM feeding & again this morning.

I left mini’s feeder in place & he finished his ration during the day - he is the only one who can go into his stall (through a 4’HX2’W door in back).
I don’t care that he is not snarfing all at once & finishes during the day.
But I’d rather not have to do Guard Duty 2X daily.
I considered locking mini in his stall until horse finishes, but 6 of one, 1/2 a dozen of other for me - still added work.

I confess I created the 'tude.
Mini now considers it his Right - not privilege - to enter the barn with me through the service door.
Where he leisurely nibbles on stacked hay as I feed flakes to the others in their stalls, water & pick stalls.
Then at the command “Go to your house” mini goes into his stall for grain.

Any ideas?
Or do I live with the Sitch I have put in place? :unamused:

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Get a noseband for the horse. He can eat his ration with no losses to the mini, on his own time. This is if just closing the stall door won’t work easier. You can do your other tasks, not run guard on the mini. You know how long it takes horse to finish his grain, to return and remove noseband or open his stall door. If horse eats slow, maybe get in a few swipes with a brush while he finishes.


@goodhors If I can find a nosebag that could work.*

Though I do not put it past Evil Mini to try getting into the nosebag!
If the little monster had pockets, he’d probably carry a knife!

*found many options online, but all require ordering & shipment.
So I will be Sentry for at least the time it takes to get my order.


Can you raise the despots feed pan so the free agent can’t reach?


Probably the least time consuming options are a nose bag, or hang the horse’s feed bucket where the mini can’t reach instead of using a floor pan.

If you really must use a floor pan, maybe build a half wall in the corner the horse can reach over to get their grain, but mini cannot?


I have 3 with a similar pecking order and free range stalls. The old guy gets locked in his stall until he’s done with his grain, so the young brat (or the herd boss) can’t enter and either “share” his grain or chase him out.
I’ve adjusted the barn chore routine to occupy my self with getting hay out and cleaning so that I finish up roughly the same time as the old guy.

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My younger horse gets twice the amount the mares do. I close them off from his stall until he is done. Once this gets started you really can’t go back. Like when dogs steal each others food, they get away with it once they never forget.

I would just close the other 2 in for their food and let them out when the food is gone. You are there anyway.

I do not for a moment doubt Mini’s ability (& tenacity & food obsession) to stand up to reach into a pan or feeder hung at horse-level.
Plus any wallbuilding skills are beyond me… though I could get handy neighbor - who built his stall & custom exit - to build…

For now, it looks like I’ll continue as Grain Police.
After all, I really got nothing that requires the 10 or so extra minutes. :roll_eyes:
And I kinda enjoy torturing the little guy

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Yiu can always tie mini until you release him.

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I’d just close either the mini or the horse’s stall door until the horse is finished. This shouldn’t add to your time or work if you can just close the door and go on with your chores. You’ll just have to remember to let them back out!

I have a similar situation with stalls my 4 horses can access, and a 12 hand pony who has special privileges. I do close their doors until they are all done or make slight adjustments if I don’t want to wait (give the older horse 1/2 quart extra to make her finish at the same time as horse #2, and give the 12h pony his food before the 13 hand piggy pony who will steal from him). Mr 12h gets to roam around the barn after eating while I’m cleaning stalls, picking up anything the others dropped in the aisle, or eating hay from the floor of the hay area. The other three are closed in their stalls until I’m done.

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And you are giving grain to a mini? Really??? This old cliche is still true today: there are only two kinds of little horses. Those who HAVE foundered and those who are GOING TO founder. A word to the wise - it is really not a good idea for any mini, even one in work, to be grained. Their bodies simply do not process high glycemic foods well at all and you are drifting into perilous EMS territory.

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@TheresanAppfurthat TC Sr is on vet’s advice after a near-founder in May.
Vet has a herd of minis, most adopted from clients who could/would not care for them.
He gets a level cup - around 6oz - twice a day.
He’s lost weight on it, and is totally sound after a brief flare in October from an abcess.

Tieing him in his stall might be my next step.
Tonight I fed him outside his stall & he wandered after eating a bit more than 1/2 his grain. But horse was left in peace.

@Mango20 Sounds like your Privileged Pony has the same agenda as my mini :smirk:

I would tie the mini and try to nip his 'tude in the bud before it gets worse. We have a medium pony who has to have extremely clearly defined boundaries… he is a give an inch and he’ll take a mile kind of pony, sounds like your mini is the same.

@Catersun Mini is really very well-behaved 99.9% of the time.
I’ve had him since he was 2, he’ll be 7 in May.

When my younger horse was two he lived out with another two year old and an older horse who came in at night. The youngsters got their breakfast before the old guy was turned out. The other two year old was the more dominant and he would leave his feed to “help” mine eat, sometimes pushing him off completely. So I had to stand between them and referee. Thy were fed a good 50 or so feet apart and I could walk an arc around my horse as the other one casually tried to walk around to the other side of my horse where I wouldn’t see him. He knew better than to get close enough to push into my large bubble of personal space. :smile:

One day I got a tad annoyed that he was still trying and when he gave up on getting to my horse’s feed I also blocked him from returning to his own until my horse was finished and had wandered down to the other horse’s feed tub. Remembering the look on the other two year old’s face still makes me :rofl: He couldn’t believe it - that was HIS breakfast!

Anyway I did that for two or three days, and the next day he lifted his head and moved a couple of steps away from his feed I took one step towards him and he hastily returned to his own feed and resumed eating. :smiling_imp: By the end of the week he was eating all of his own feed before going to help mine.

I don’t know if this would work in your situation, but removing the uneaten breakfast removes the option of finishing it later. It might help.

@RedHorses :smile: I can imagine the Look on your youngster’s face!

This morning I fed the mini his breakfast by hanging his pan (foal feeder) outside his stall.
Horse got to eat his grain in his own stall, in his own time, unpestered.
Mini ate some, wandered to the hay, then returned to his feeder.
When horse was done, I gave mini access to his stall. Hung his feeder inside - about 1/3 left.
Of course, he hustled into horse’s stall, but it saved me having to referee.
Might be my solution for the time being.

Whatever he doesn’t finish gets added to the next cup. So if he gets less than his 2 cups daily, his choice.

Sounds like the mini doesn’t like what he is getting? What kind of grain is the horse on?

@candyappy Up until May 2020, when mini had a mild laminitic episode, he ate same as horses (just much less):
Whole oats with a 2T scoop of BOSS.
He was happy with the switch to TC Sr, even top-dressed with Thyro-L.

His picky eating began this week.
Until then he snarfed down his TC Sr, Thyro-L & BOSS before going to visit horse. Usually horse had made All Gone by then.

My solution seems to be working.
Mini ate almost all his dinner - fed outside his stall - before wandering off to the hay.
Horse got to finish his grain in peace.
I put mini back in his stall, put his near-empty feeder in with him & called it Good.

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Agreed. Not sure why the simplest solution isn’t also the easiest.

I have a similar setup. 3 large horses with different feed amounts/types. A pony and mini with different feeds.

Horses go into their stalls through Dutch doors and I just close them as they walk in (if they are not already in). Feed everyone, check water, put out hay, tidy up, then let them out when they are done.

@S1969 I chose the way that is easiest for me.
Mini gets his feeder hung outside his stall, horse gets to eat in peace & I take a couple minutes sitting until horse is done with his pan.
He usually signals by picking up the pan to show me the Sad State of Emptiness :smirk:
Then mini goes in his stall, any feed left in the pan goes in with him & I am done.
Even if mini makes a beeline to horse’s stall, all he gets is the usual shared hay.